AishFan

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Reviews

Phantom
(2015)

Well-made movie, though I have mixed feelings
Tackling the easy part of the review first: looking strictly technically, this movie is very well-made. The suspense is gripping, and the thrills keep you on the edge of your seat. I felt my heart beat faster during the climax! The action scenes are awesome as is the cinematography with so many diverse locales captured so aesthetically around the world. The chaos shown in war-torn Syria is very well-depicted. Direction is also on par with some good performances.

The story is very gripping. Films based on books (Mumbai Avengers) are almost always better than those copied off other films (which unfortunately seems to happen a majority of the time in Bollywood). The machinations behind murders, sequence of events surrounding each incident, and the plot in general is very clever. The final two scenes really pull at your heartstrings and are very powerful.

Phantom brings many disturbing truths to the surface. Most shocking to me is the U.S.'s harboring of terrorists within its borders and using refugee camps as an excuse to supply weapons to jihadists. However, honestly, I am not surprised as the U.S. government is known to spread more violence throughout the world than any other country to profit from the business of bloodshed, and I know the American government gave birth to the Taliban during the Cold War in an effort to crush Russia. It's something that makes me ashamed of being an American.

It must be apparent now that I am not an advocate of war, violence, or hatred. I am a Gandhian and fully believe in the fact that "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Given that, I do not support the path of vigilante "justice" proposed in Phantom. Bloodshed only gives birth to more terrorists, even if the person dying deserves to be killed. I never supported America's "War on Terrorism" (some paradox that is) nor would I support India carrying out something of this sort. The film raises the point, "If America can do it, why can't we?" My answer to that is, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

In conclusion, the movie is very well-made with a great story and plot. You do cheer for the protagonist--after all he is trying to kill the masterminds of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai--something very painfully close to all of our hearts. How can one not want to see them die? However, putting aside the passion invoked in the heat of the action scenes, I do not support the message delivered--one that promotes hatred, violence, and revenge. We've had enough of such movies going back to the highly provocative Gadar and all the J.P. Dutta films. Through movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, we need to build a peaceful world for future generations.

Highway
(2014)

Top-notch performances and cinematography convey an impactive story
Everything about this movie is excellent. The performances are excellent. Imtiaz Ali extracted the best from the entire cast. While Alia Bhatt didn't make much of an impression in Student of the Year, in Highway she does an outstanding job! Her character has a very unique personality, and the emotions depicted haven't really been relayed before. Still, she delivers flawlessly. Enough cannot be said about Randeep's performance either. He plays the role of a goon in anguish. His terrific acting lets the audience empathize with his pain, successfully turning the antagonist into a protagonist.

Cinematography is mind-blowing. India has some of the world's most spectacular natural beauty, but rarely does it get depicted on screen, with producers flocking to foreign locales. This film captures the magnificent beauty of North India, and this reason alone is good enough to see it on the panoramic big screen. The barren deserts of Rajasthan, the rivers and cultivated lands of Punjab, the hills of Haryana, and the breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks, gushing waterfalls, and vertical cliffs of Kashmir are a visual treat.

Rahman's music and background score are also brilliant. They are very subtle but powerful, not imposing onto the audience in the typical Bollywood fashion. A roadside group of Sufis singing and a mother's lullaby are among the lovely tracks in this film.

Last but not least, the story and script are top-notch. The irony of the kidnapping is a clever, eye-opening theme. The use of low-quality letterbox video for showing scenes of the life in Delhi convey the artificiality, forced behavior, protocol life, confinement, and claustrophobia that Alia's character is unable to endure.

Kudos to Imtiaz Ali--he has done it again!

Hasee Toh Phasee
(2014)

Lackluster entertainer
I didn't go in with much expectations for this movie and walked out with a casual "meh." Performances are just average. Parineeti's character needed to be elaborated some more--her performance seemed more of a caricature, while making odd, unnatural faces and expressions. Her character was a good concept, nonetheless--something very different, fresh, and modern. Siddharth was decent but nothing to write home about. He was much better in Student of the Year. Songs are also average. The girl who played the role of Karishma was not too bad but nothing spectacular. What was a bit irksome and left a sour taste in the mouth were some of the subtle values being shown in the film--particularly that it's perfectly justifiable to take as much of your parents' money as you desire (by hook or by crook). I find self-made financial independence more respectable. Also, the climax is extremely farcical.

The only two main positives of the film are Parineeti's innovative character, even if its portrayal was average, and the alternative, random humor. When the scene is starting to drag, you unexpectedly encounter some off-beat humor. These two things are what hold your attention in the first half. In the second half, though, particularly in the final scenes, the film loses whatever momentum it has.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan
(2012)

To its credit, a well-made movie, but difficult to relate to
I was slightly disappointed with this film, but I wouldn't write it off completely. Cinematography and music are excellent. Katrina is fabulous. Performances are good. The main weakness of the film is the story. The fault lies not in that it is told poorly or that it is devoid of any intelligence. It just is kind of old-fashioned, and I found it difficult to relate to. Chopra did make a good attempt of trying to address this point with Anushka's character, but she still seemed more of a stereotype of Gen Y rather than a sincere incorporation of its viewpoint. Thank goodness, the climax is well-done and refreshing.

Heroine
(2012)

Doesn't live up to high expectations but still a good watch
An ardent Bhandarkar fan, I had extremely high expectations from this. This film is the weakest of the talented director's lot, but I still was not disappointed. He extracted a great performance from Kareena. Comparisons with his earlier Fashion and Page 3 (and Vidya Balan's Dirrty Picture) are inevitable, and all three of these films have done a much more impressive job of exposing the backstabbing nature of the film industry and had better performances and songs, too. Two tracks in this film were good, while the rest were mediocre.

The first half of the film (the flashback) seemed sub-par, especially given Bhandarkar's track record. However, the movie picks up and how in the second half! As always, thorough research has been done for the film, and if you pay close attention, you might figure out the stars upon whom each incident is based upon. The climax is by far the best scene in the movie and does a great job of summing up the theme.

Dhobi Ghat
(2010)

Subtle, powerful direction with strong imagery
Mumbai Diaries is a film unlike any other I have seen before. Aptly titled, the film takes a day-by-day account of the lives of very different types of people in the megalopolis, representing its vast socioeconomic spectrum. Each individual person has their own unique story, and they have all been presented with perfection. All four characters have been developed wonderfully.

I particularly enjoyed the wife's video-letters. They clearly illustrate how the large city's loneliness and depression, slowly engulfed and took over her life. Starting with being startled (symbolized by the expensive bangles) and loneliness (celebrating her birthday alone), to dejection (sharing her sorrows with the sea) and wiping away of her identity and liveliness (washing of her name on the beach), and to finally engulfing of her soul (Ganesha submersion).

Eye-catching imagery, an unmistakable trait of a true artist, speaks millions to the audience. For example, a simple image of the broken ceiling fan wire in Aamir's apartment creates horror when he realizes why it has broken. His neighbor, the old lady who never reacts, foreshadows the wife's doom and what the city has in store for her. Her brief glance at Aamir when he starts crying in front of her signals that the city has initiated him. The photographer's finespun single tear towards the end reveals her realization for Prateik's love and her becoming overcome with guilt for possibly leading him on. Prateik's hesitation in kissing and his sliding down the handrail in the subway, while his cousin was on the phone, displays his innocent, naive love. The casting person who pauses only at Prateik's shirtless photo hints at Mumbai's shallowness.

I first had doubts on Prateik's ability to do a convincing job of a dhobi, but he has given an amazing performance and has done full justice to his role. The American girl also was superb and had a very authentic accent, perfect for her role.

Devoid of any melodrama or showcasing, this movie uses subtle, realistic imagery to develop its characters and to narrate their everyday yet captivating stories.

The Dirty Picture
(2011)

Vidya is mind-blowing! Witty dialogs!
Definitely Vidya's best performance. She goes all out in accurately depicting Southern sex siren sensation, Silk Smitha. Not only is she able to boldly re-enact the cheesy, campy item songs, the seductive bedroom shots, and the scanty, cleavage-spilling costumes, but she is able to illustrate her passion for films and fame, disgust with society's hypocrite nature, starry-eyed dreams, heartbreaks, disillusionment of her recognition and reputation in the industry, and the devastation of rejection by her family, lovers, directors, costars, and the entire nation as a whole.

Songs are catchy and fun, particularly "Ooh la la." The script and screenplay are brilliant--clever dialogs that will leave you in splits. Tusshar surprisingly gave a great performance. Naseerudin was good, too. Emran was not bad. My favorite scene in the film is Vidya's "award acceptance speech." It reveals how hypocrite society truly is. Can easily watch this film once again.

Aarakshan
(2011)

Another feather in Amitabh's cap
Aarakshan is a film revolving around the highly controversial subject of affirmative action in India's higher education system. When the Supreme Court rules that reserved seating for "backward castes" has been increased greatly, along with all of India, the nation's most prestigious university polarizes into two groups, one for the ruling and one against it. This leaves the diplomatic, fair-grounded principal, Amitabh, torn between the two sides.

The role of Dr. Prabhakar Anand was tailor-made for Amitabh Bachchan, and he, and only he, could pull it off so naturally and with so much grace. Saif Ali Khan was completely miscast. The role of a poor, struggling, pro-affirmative action, hard-worker could not be well- portrayed by the royal Nawab Pathan. Deepika Padukone acted wonderfully as does her mother in the film. Manoj Bajpai was good as well.

What I personally liked the most about the movie is seeing how much India respects and values a good education. Rich, poor, toppers, and "failures" all recognize that one must get the best education possible in order to succeed in life. Amitabh clearly portrayed this feeling in his performance. Though, some parts, especially the final portions, were quite filmi.

So, ultimately, who is right? Are the rich hogging all the university seats? Are the poor being discriminated against and not getting a chance to pursue higher studies? Or are low-scorers being given a free ride without having the merit? Then, can the upper caste ever imagine what those in the slums are going through? Is caste identification encouraging the caste system? The film and its protagonist do take a stance on this controversial matter. Everyone has their opinion. Some might even be persuaded one way or the other by the film. I, too, have my views but won't used IMDb as a political outlet. Save that for another blog, I guess.

Ready
(2011)

Some fun, mindless, Salman-style comedy
This movie is nothing to write home about, but is a great Friday flick, just to laugh and unwind. As in Salman's films' unequivocal comic style of absurdly loud, in-your-face satire of Bollywood clichés, you'll find yourself puzzled by, and shortly thereafter resorting to laughing, at the same time embarrassed to find out that you can laugh to such silly comedy. Salman and Asin are both great. Songs are fun and entertaining from Dhinga Chika to Longawach remix. Asin gives a great performance as does Salman. The first half is more entertaining than the second, which starts to become a drag in some parts. All in all, the film's a good timepass.

Always Kabhi Kabhi
(2011)

Didn't live up to its great potential
This movie had it all going for it. Being backed by Gauri/SRK's production house, the movie has a talented and fresh bunch of debut actors. A pretty decent supporting cast also adds. The theme of the film is a relevant, revolutionary one and has been popping up in a few movies recently: pursue your individual dreams, desires, and ambitions. It's time to proclaim our desire for freedom to those suppressing our desires, be it parents, teachers, or any other form of authority. One of the major detractors are the songs. They are not good at all, and the climactic song "Antenna" really just ruins whatever the movie still had going for it. The film needed some editing to make it as fast-paced as it's message is rebellious. Screenplay and dialogs also needed improvement. Costumes, sets, make-up, etc. are all top-notch. Performances are good as well.

Pyaar Ka Punchnama
(2011)

Awesome!
This movie is terrific! The comedy (about 3/4 of the film) is an absolute laugh riot. Direction and performances of the entire cast is top-notch. Screenplay is superb. Dialogues are to die for!! I have never heard so many clever, witty lines combined into one film. Liquid's monologues are always power-packed. The innocent character of the three gives a monologue filled with frustration building up over time--by far, the best performance and scene of the film! The annoying girlfriends also did a fantastic job. The incidents and events in the film are real slices of life. You must have heard it happening somewhere, if you haven't been through it yourself!

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
(2011)

Brilliantly showcases India's growing individualism
On the surface, this movie is a fun-filled breath of fresh air. Fantastic starcast!!! Spain has been captured absolutely beautifully, and its culture has been shown very respectfully from the Tomatino festival to the bull race. It is refreshing to see brand new locales never shown in Bollywood with a down-to-earth yet glamorous starcast. Music is terrific as well.

Each character and dialog has been penned with great consideration, and I am sure they are captured from real life. One can easily relate to the camaraderie among the three friends whether it be their silly, nonsensical inside jokes, impromptu fun-filled moments, or moments of pain and joy that strengthen their bonds, reminding one of his/her own most sincere friendships. Farhan's character's poems are delightful. The movie has been directed magnificently. There are some amazing scenes, my favorite being Hrithik's becoming inundated with feelings after his deep-sea diving adventure. Performances are great by all, but Hrithik is the most impressive. Katrina also suited the role wonderfully.

However, dig deeper and take a step back, and you'll see a brilliant, thought-provoking, and excellently written film. While we are familiar with the Carpe Diem theme, we have never seen it embraced so wholeheartedly and taken so literally as it has been in this movie. As India's economy and mindset continues to liberalize, we see the birth and emergence of the carefree individual. There are numerous instances and decisions that display this attitude. The one that stands out is Abhay's decision to cancel his marriage despite the fact that both he and his fiancé like each other, he has proposed, and both families are involved. Another is Naseerudin Shah's dismissive attitude of his actions when he was young and his running away from his responsibilities for his artistic pursuits. Farhan and Hrithik have a one-night stand not knowing if they will see their partners in the future. All these incidents are not at all shown in a negative light. On the contrary, they are shown as a part of life that one should have the courage to accept so that each person can live his/her dream.

ZNMD captures this mindset prevalent among the youth in India's metros and showcases it on a such a grand scale, which is surely going to accelerate this new attitude as it permeates throughout India. I believe this is going to make this a cult film to remember, which can join names like 3 Idiots, Taare Zameen Par, Udaan, and Wake Up Sid. I personally find it fascinating to see history repeating itself, with India's cultural revolution an uncanny déjà vu of 1960s America, which also had its share of cult films. (Some films to check out include The Graduate and Pleasantville.)

On the whole, this idea of living each day as it is your last, not caring about what others will say, do, or think and pursuing your dreams without worrying about the consequences is encouraged. Some may find this thinking too radical and irresponsible, while others will find it liberalizing and enlightening. Purists and conservatives might find this movie disturbing.

Dabangg
(2010)

One word for Salman: Bada$$!
As True Grit brought back the Hollywood Western, Dabangg brings back the Indian "Western." This movie was virtually every Bollywood film circa 1980-1995 and involved the perfect hero (always kicked the villains' butts, is a protective lover, and loves his mother), the beautiful heroine (beautiful, poor, damsel in distress), and the ruthless villain (raids police stations, drives around in jeeps with his hooligans, and gets involved in politics). Not only does the Dabangg incorporate these elements, but injects the genre with steroids (with some fun side effects) to blow away today's audiences in an over-the-top escapist movie in a format we've all grown up watching.

The action involves high-speed pounding and thrashing by Salman, who has eyes on the back of his head (spoof of cheesy protagonist lines), and repetitive shots with poor CGI of gundas falling off the roof (reminiscent of shoddy technical effects). Salman doesn't need to patao (woo) the girl; he is so bada$$, he just marries her before she gets a chance to know his name. The heroine isn't simply playing hard-to-get; in fact, she's decided to remain unmarried! Oh she doesn't need a hero to save her, she's got some dialogs that'll blow you away! Back in the days of the Indian Western, only villains, rapists, and gang members worked out and went to the gym to have the strength to beat others up, lol. Sonu Sood's camp take this to the extreme with his insanely buff physique and his henchmen who are playing kabaddi (Indian wrestling) 24/7. And then, of course, there's the item song "Munni" that is a favorite of audiences.

Salman is terrific. Sonakshi gives a mindblowing debut! She is not one of the plastic surgery clones entering Bollywood these days, but has natural, nice features and Indian beauty. She is proud of her culture and who she is and doesn't see the need to change herself. Arbaaz is also good. "Mast Mast Nain" is a great track and forced, unmatching dance sequences to the video make it even more enjoyable.

If you are not aware of the run-of-the-mill Bollywood films 15-30 years back, or in the mood for just some deep, quality, or realistic cinema, you probably will be disappointed. Dabangg successfully brings back and reinvents the Indian "Western" for today's audience.

Udaan
(2010)

A captivating and culturally symbolic coming-of-age film!
After being expelled from boarding school for sneaking out to watch an x-rated movie, Rohan comes back home and sees his father after eight years and becomes overwhelmed by his new life. He is forced to deal with the fact that he has a half-brother, to suppress his artistic desires and dreams of being a writer, to work as an engineer at his dad's factory, and to live a regimented life at the order of his authoritative father. It is uplifting to see, though, how amidst such a dull and draining life, he is able to just barely keep his spirit alive, whether it be through writing poems by the river, chatting with his uncle, or telling stories to a sick, elderly man at the hospital. He also begins to sympathize for his half-brother, especially after seeing that their dad abuses him. This new relationship makes Rohan's life ever more complicated as running away would be the easy solution; now the future of a young child will be determined by Rohan's actions. Fantastic direction and great performances by the supporting cast, especially the little half-brother.

One of the final scenes where Rohan outruns his father is beautifully captured. This image leaves a long-lasting impression on the viewer, and in my opinion, this still image of Rohan sprinting is very symbolic of the new Indian culture. India's youth is forging ahead, making a name for itself, breaking the shackles of convention, and redefining the future. Many years from now, this striking image will be remembered as an iconic allegory of the youth of India's new attitude and determination to succeed and live life as they envision it.

The Tourist
(2010)

Unrealistic and clichéd
The Tourist boasts of big stars, foreign locales, and a gripping script, but the film just ends up disappointing. Angelina Jolie has overdone her plastic surgery and doesn't look that attractive in this film. The mafia don, surrounded by his Russian henchmen, is so clichéd, it's not even funny. There were too many trite, over-the-top sequences in this movie, such as the protagonist rushing in against all odds to save his lady. The movie simply seemed too unrealistic and predictable to be an effective thriller. Venice, a breathtakingly beautiful city that has been captured magnificently in other films, is not exploited well-enough. A few unappealing shots taken there are repeatedly shown to the audience. There is a twist at the end, however, that makes up for some of the film's weaknesses. Angelina gives a good performance; Johnny Depp is not bad.

Break Ke Baad
(2010)

Fun, fresh romcom with meaningful messages
With a rather simple plot, Break Ke Baad explores and examines the relationship between the lead pair Imran and Deepika. This fun, fresh, and light-hearted romcom contains some really nice themes and messages that are badly needed for today's times. In an age where break-ups are too common and used as an escape from life's troubles, a quick fix to a relationship going through a rough phase, or a convenient denial of one's own weaknesses, we end up losing and hurting our loved ones and well-wishers. It takes courage, patience, acceptance, and resilience to keep two people together. While we may not realize it in the pursuit of freedom and independence, it's these relationships that brings us the most contentment. The film doesn't downplay or discourage ambition; on the contrary, it does show it as necessary to developing oneself. However, one's means of achieving his/her goals should not be done through rebellious means or by despisement of others' attitudes, but rather by cooperating and understanding those who are closest to you. The film has a great starcast and direction as well as nice music.

Action Replayy
(2010)

Decent film although it falls below expectations
Action Replayy wasn't all that bad a film. A few laughs here, a few tears there--but it definitely wasn't a "Diwali Dhamaka" as we were all hoping it to be. Aishwarya finally gets into a glamorous avatar in Bollywood in so many years after Dhoom 2, and she is looking stunning. The actor playing the protagonist did a good job, but I think it would have been better and more interesting if a more established star had his role in a film that is on such a grand scale with such huge stars. After being bedazzled by a previous Diwali blockbuster, Om Shanti Om, which also has a major portion of the film taking place 1970s/80s and done masterfully by Farah Khan, Action Replayy just doesn't match up. The depiction of that retro era seems too tacky, forced, and stereotypical.

Even if we overlook these weaknesses, the main drawback of the film is its script. The story is very elementary, it's not gripping at all, the comedy is very weak and just evokes a few chuckles, and the experience is not at all memorable. Also, regarding the lip-syncing trick in the movie, isn't it obvious that the guy lip-syncing is not singing? Music is good. The best tracks are Zor Ka Jhatka and Nakhre.

While the first half is quite a drag, the second half just about makes up for it. The last few scenes are really nice.

Rain: The Terror Within...
(2005)

C-grade film
Terrible direction, dreadful performances, crude dialogs, repulsive plot, and lackluster music make this film a complete waste of time. Meghna plays the role of a blind author. We know she's no Rani Mukherjee, but Meghna's portrayal of a blind person is blinking every split second. The songs are so forgettable, that I phased out while they were on; they also came at the most inappropriate moments and ridiculous situations like old-school Hindi films. The dialogs are extremely crude and insensitive. The story is vulgar and gross, but that is the intent, so you can't really blame them there. I got this DVD for free at a fair. Now, I understand why.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai
(2010)

Fascinating, eye-opening film of Mumbai's demise
There are numerous films on the present-day Mumbai underworld, but it is fascinating to see how it all started in the newly independent country.

The too-big-to handle metropolis, once freed from the chains of the British reign, also lost a strict and strongly exercised system of law enforcement. It is interesting to see how the new, immature government is unable to retain control and power goes to "Sultan" Mirza. It is equally shocking to witness how Hashmi's unquenchable thirst for power and victory leads him to usurp Mirza's position, and increases Mumbai's filth. The police inspector points out the riveting truth that all along he thought he was in a battle of good vs. evil, where the evil is Mirza and his group, and the good is the former innocence the city possessed. However, it ended up being much more complex where the fight was between evil vs. more evil (Mirza vs. Hashmi).

The inspector's recollection of "the death of Mumbai" is both eye-opening and tragic. Terrific plot and great performances.

Anjaana Anjaani
(2010)

Priyanka rocks in this refreshing film
Priyanka is the showstealer of this movie. Her flawless and effortless acting make it an absolute pleasure to watch the character of Kiara go through a roller coaster of emotions from guilt, grief, and depression to jubilation, ecstasy, and love. Ranbir is also fantastic. He always gives a subtle but powerful performance. Both Priyanka and Ranbir's comic timing is right on the money, and the duo keep you in splits.

The script, the backbone of the film, is terrific. I can't give too many details without giving away the story here. The entire process of making the film, from cinematography and direction to the most minute details such as depicting accurate weather across the US in winter, has been done very professionally. I personally really like how the film confronts the difficult times that the US is going through and, in a fun, light-hearted, and fully entertaining way, turns a devastating situation into a positive one. The entire soundtrack is awesome with fresh, soul-stirring music. The movie is a great, fun experience and has repeat value.

Aisha
(2010)

Good concept, film reeks of Americanism
Clueless was a novel adaptation of Austen's Emma that introduced and spread like wildfire the Beverly Hills/Valley Girl/California culture to the rest of the U.S. during the roaring 90s. Now it's India's turn, and Anil Kapoor picks New Delhi as the LA equivalent. The idea is brilliant since India's rapidly increasing materialism, consumerism, and westernization and fascination with romance create a terrific setting for this story.

Alicia Silverstone's shallowness, lack of concern for her career, romantic obsessions, glamorous stupidity, and an infatuation with materialistic possessions created the notorious stereotype of a California girl, which even till today is the image that is conjured in people's minds. Sonam Kapoor carries out her character wonderfully. However, where I feel the movie failed was instead of bringing out the new spirit of New Delhi, the film was forced into being a carbon copy of the American adaptation. From PBJs and Valley Girl slang to the VW bug and pepper sprays, the culture portrayed is so obviously not of Delhi at all. For example, far-left liberalism and formation of animal rights groups is something unique in Cali, whereas majority of people in India are already vegetarians, and this aspect of Aisha's ditsy character doesn't even make sense.

Each scene is an in-your-face desperate attempt to copy American culture, and it is repulsive. Other films such as Wake Up Sid, Rock On!!, and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na brought out the new generation of urban India successfully and not by trying to imitate the West. Other than that, songs were terrific and very catchy.

I Hate Luv Storys
(2010)

Average Version of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na w/ Shameless Dharma Prod. Plugs
This was one of the movies I had been most keenly looking forward to this year for three main reasons: The title had definitely caught my attention, and I was looking forward to a spoof/hatke romcom; I have liked all of Imran's past performances and his movies (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Kidnap, and Luck); and I wanted to see another Dharma Production. Sadly, I was left a bit disappointed.

This was Imran's weakest performance in his career; although it wasn't horrible, it wasn't at all that impressive. It was refreshing to see Sonam Kapoor shed her archaic look from Saanwariya. Her performance was on the weak side, but her fresh, new look made up for it. It seemed the film started off trying to spoof how clichéd and sappy Bollywood romances are, which seemed to be the main premise of the title.

While JTYJN had almost the same theme, story, and plot, it was so brilliantly told with such superb direction and acting, that it was a treat to watch. However, in IHLS, the story was stretched out with pointless scenes and redundant dialogs. What was the most annoying part are the numerous plugs for Dharma Productions and Yash Raj Films shamelessly littered throughout the movie. I seriously felt like I was watching an advertisement half the time. Poor editing, a stale story, and too many plugs began to wear on the audience's patience. Thanks to the light-hearted feel of the movie and an occasional funny comment, it was still bearable for the most part.

By the end, I really wondered if this movie has anything new to offer. It's just like any other romance, and it doesn't even deny this fact. If you've seen JTYJN, you won't find anything new and interesting here at all. Songs are nice and worth a listen.

Teen Patti
(2010)

False advertising
Having immense potential, this film unfortunately turns out to be strictly average. The whole movie is about a group of students and teachers that get trapped in an underworld gambling ring. The movie was promoted showing how mathematics can be utilized to manipulate games, deduce card dealings, and accurately predict hands. While these do occur, absolutely no details regarding the formula, its discovery, its teachings, etc. are given. There's just all this hoopla of a probability theory with nonsensical numbers and equations constantly being written in the air, and the audience is just supposed to blindly trust what Amitabh is saying without even getting an opportunity to understand it. Another part of the false advertising was that it is supposed to be a very slick, stylish, thriller, which it was not. Songs were good, but character development was poor. The final monologue by Amitabh is some sort of a saving grace, but a little too late.

Pankh
(2010)

Not a pleasant watch but an eye-opening film
This film is the, I believe, true story of award-winning child artist Jerry (aka Baby Kusum), who was a boy forced to play girls' characters by his mother. The movie has been presented in such an abstract fashion, that it had me as confused as the protagonist for the majority of the time. However, looking at it from a bigger perspective, it is a very shocking and eye-opening exposition of how dark, tragic, and mortifying the life of Jerry and numerous other child artists victim to this practice must have become in regards to their sexual identity and orientation as they grew into adolescence. A well-made and intended film, but a bit too abstract, ghastly, and vulgar for me.

Aakhir Kyon?
(1985)

Novel film successfully exposes double standards
Aakhir Kyon? is a beautiful film that details the stigma of a divorcée for an Indian woman, her struggles and humiliations, and the strength and courage required to fight and conquer. Made in the 1980s, it did a great job of staging the question, Until when must women continue to be used, abused, victimized, oppressed, and denied the right to their own unique personality? An inspirational film, the movie shows how Smita Patil's character, simply on the basis of her own merits and fortitude, is able to start life again from scratch, begin a career, achieve success and respect, and above all, create her own identity all through her diligence and hard work. Songs have wonderful lyrics. Smita Patil is amazing as is Tina Munim. Rajesh Khanna is also great.

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